Quick Saturday Update

Watching the Rutgers/Pitt game and trying to accomplish a bit before the Phillies tonight, so just some items of interest from the last couple days.


The tropics are quite active globally as of late. Cyclone Giri absolutely unloaded yesterday on Burma (Myanmar) the same nation that was ravaged by Cyclone Nargis back in 2008.  Giri is a bit of a scary situation as well, as it exploded right before landfall, which caught a lot of forecasters offguard, and it may have led to considerably less warning time for residents of that region. We’ll have to wait and see how bad the impacts of wind and rain are on that region.

Super Typhoon Megi, downgraded to a category one Typhoon Megi, hit China opposite of Taiwan today. So far it looks like its impacts on China will be minimal, but mudslides and the damage in the Philippines has taken close to 50 lives and caused substantial damage to parts of those countries.

NOAA satellite image of Tropical Storm Richard near the Honduras coast this afternoon

Lastly, and of more direct interest to people here, Tropical Storm Richard continues to churn in the Caribbean. Maximum sustained winds are at 65 mph now, and it’s likely, as Richard gradually eases away from the close pass to the coast, that it will become Hurricane Richard tonight or tomorrow. A tricky forecast, as the current movement (just north of west) and the proximity to the Central American coast means any little wobble or shift in direction will have a major impact on how strong Richard becomes and exactly where it will strike. The guarantee is that a lot of rain and strong winds will be impacting Honduras, Belize and the southern Yucatan over the next few days. Beyond that, it’s likely what is left of Richard will make it into the Gulf, but truthfully, the pattern when it gets there appears awfully hostile for any sort of development. So at this point, this is not a major concern to the US, but we’ll keep an eye on it in Mexico and Central America.

Stormy US

The pattern across the US is turning decidedly stormy, thanks in part to a raging jet stream crashing into the West Coast. Those are 150-175 kt winds slamming into Oregon. We’re seeing additional storminess in the Plains and the potential for some pretty decent severe weather provided by the departing system from earlier this week that hit California. This morning it’s the Dallas/Fort Worth area getting it worst (probably a good thing the Rangers/Yankees series didn’t go to game seven). Later today, areas further north should get it.

The storms in the Northwest and Northern California look extremely powerful, enhanced by tropical moisture that can be traced across the globe to where Typhoon Megi was! Here are some links to follow the powerful snow, wind, and rain that will impact some parts of the Northwest:

NWS Portland’s weather story

NWS Seattle with information on Winter Storm Watches in the Cascades

NWS Medford, OR’s weather story for today.

NWS Sacramento video briefing on the storm

Some other interesting links today

Texas universities will begin studying what exactly is blowing apart the universe.

Discovery Online discusses whether or not tornadoes are increasing in the US. I did a similar analysis of hail reports in the Northeast US when I worked there, and I found that in the last 10-15 years there had been an explosion of hail being reported, whereas some of the reports from the Plains had actually begun to diminish or hold steady. But I really think this primarily has to do with the increasing connectivity of the world and the National Weather Service presence online that makes storm reporting easy for almost anyone. The NWS to their credit has also done a good job in fostering and improving their relationships in the communities they serve, which allows them to get reports a lot more easily. I imagine the tornado report increase is likely due to the fact that storm chasing has exploded in the last 10-15 years, and it’s now rare for any storm that produces a tornado in that part of the country to go unnoticed. I can’t really see much else being at work with this. Reports are easier to make and the NWS has become more proactive, and the combination has led to a much better net to capture reports.


Short-Term Musings and Hitting the Links!

Some heavy rain/mountain snow in the Pac NW soon!

This time of year can be one of more intriguing times of year from a weather standpoint. The tropics are winding down, but can still produce some fun. Cold air is gradually building and occasionally flexing here in the US, so you can get some fascinating storms. We’re starting to see the pattern build a bit, especially starting over this coming weekend in the Northwest, where it looks like a series of systems promise to start building snowpack and bringing some widespread wind and rain to Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. The graphic shows this morning’s run of the GFS and the total amount of precipitation forecasted through day ten. Notice about 4-6″ showing up in the Pacific Northwest. Not a bad haul.

Outside of that, there’s not much exciting going on weatherwise this week here in the US. Keep an eye on Arizona and the Southwest again Tuesday-Thursday, as another one of these pesky cutoff lows (haven’t seen sun here in SoCal since last Wednesday or Thursday) gradually comes onshore and works inland. This one isn’t as strong as the one we had earlier this month that caused the tornado outbreak in AZ, but still could be enough to pop some decent storms there.

Link Exchange

This article suggests scientists really need to work on how they communicate their information. I think this sort of proves the point that the issue of climate change has been politicized to death. I wish we could move away from climate change as a policy issue and move back toward a “what’s causing it”  and “what does it mean” issue.

Super Typhoon Megi Satellite Loop Also, if you like satellite imagery and blogs, this one is one to bookmark, as they often produce some beautiful loops such as this. Megi made landfall in the Philippines and sounds as though it did a fair amount of damage and disruption. We’ll see. Here’s the latest on Megi, which may actually be headed for just south of Hong Kong now, a couple hundred miles further north than the thinking yesterday. Here’s a blog entry from Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground with a link to a beautiful satellite image of Megi. Additional satellite imagery here.

Interesting story in the LA Times today about how a water fight is underway about redirecting Colorado River water from the LA area to the Salton Sea southeast of Palm Springs to help desalinate it and sustain it. I suspect stories like this will become more frequent in coming years as the strain on the water supply out here continues to increase. Along those same lines… Lake Mead records its lowest level…ever.

Zoo With Roy is probably my favorite Phillies blog, and put together this awesomeness depicting Roy Oswalt blowing through the stop sign last night. As an aside, what a great game by the Phillies last night. Hopefully it puts the fan base at ease. I said Phils in six, assuming we beat Lincecum and lost to Sanchez at home. We did the opposite, but the same end result I expected I guess. Should be an interesting game in San Francisco tomorrow. Weather looks fantastic, with mid to upper 60s and a good deal of sunshine. Perfect fall weather by the Bay.

Waste time with the Global Genie! Takes you some random place on Google Street View. Neat way to experience new places.

And lastly, I have to share this link to send a get well message to Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand who was involved in horrific tackle in the game vs. Army over the weekend that has sadly left him paralyzed below his neck. Keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Wrapping Up the Nor’Easter, Some Other Things

At the left is a satellite image from NOAA depicting the massive nor’easter hitting New England yesterday. This was a very impressive storm, and it continues to impact with strong winds (as evidenced by watching the Rutgers/Army game at the Meadowlands Stadium). Gusts have generally been in the 35-55 mph range. Though I did see a 69 mph gust in Bennington County, VT (Woodford), that I assume was at a high elevation. Mount Washington in New Hampshire looks to have done just over 72 mph in the last 24 hours.

In terms of snowfall, it appears that an average of 6-12″ fell at some of the higher peaks of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains. I’ve seen 8″ reported at Little Whiteface Mountain, 7″ as of yesterday at Mt. Mansfield, VT, and 14″ at Killington. All in all a fairly impressive event!

Typhoon Megi

As the tropics in the Atlantic slowly wind down, the incredibly quiet Western Pacific is finally seeing some interesting activity. Typhoon Megi is a 120 mph storm, which will likely become a supertyphoon and appears headed for the northern part of Luzon (main island of the Philippines). The current forecast has it making landfall early morning (US Time) on Monday

Typhoon Megi East of the Philippines

. You can track Megi here. Also, Crownweather.com has a nice website with images and information on Megi. After the Philippines, it looks to head toward Hainan Island in southern China.



Arizona Tornado Outbreak

The National Weather Service in Flagstaff has put up a tremendous website with lots of images, graphics, pictures, and information on the tornado outbreak that struck parts of Arizona earlier this month. This event will go down as the largest single day tornado outbreak in Arizona history. Of course, we can assume that, but Arizona has become more densely populated in recent years, so there are probably a number of weather events that have gone unnoticed in that state in years past. That said, this was an incredible outbreak for anywhere west of the Continental Divide. I happened to be at work that morning monitoring some rain here in SoCal, but fixed on the radar in Central and Northern Arizona. Some of those radar signatures were as good as you’d see anywhere in the country. Some good stuff on that website from above.

Scientists and Programming

An interesting final topic for today. I found a link to an article from the Journal Nature’s website. The article discusses how in the wake of Climategate, there was a somewhat undiscussed issue that involved scientists and their ability to write code. One of the emails had a comment from a CRU scientists claiming his programming skills were “awful.” This is somewhat disturbing in the sense that a lot of what is being done in the climate arena (and other areas too) is being programmed and written now by scientists. The bottom line is that the skills of a lot of people has not caught up to the pace of technological development. It’s a good read, and it brings up some interesting points that you wouldn’t normally think about that I think illustrates a larger problem in our field, as well as other science fields. But I think with the discussion and the realization that what some of these scientist programmers do is so important to the field and research, this should help bring some additional awareness to the topic at hand. Hopefully at least in our field of meteorology, some of the graduate programs that exist more rigorously emphasize programming in their curriculum going forward.